•  7
    Desire and Aesthetic Pleasure
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (1): 95-99. 2017.
  •  8
    Précis of "Humean Nature. How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling"
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 9 (1): 57-66. 2018.
  •  6
    Reply to Symposiasts
    Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 9 (1): 95-104. 2018.
  •  1454
    Ethical Reductionism
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 13 (1): 32-52. 2018.
    Ethical reductionism is the best version of naturalistic moral realism. Reductionists regard moral properties as identical to properties appearing in successful scientific theories. Nonreductionists, including many of the Cornell Realists, argue that moral properties instead supervene on scientific properties without identity. I respond to two arguments for nonreductionism. First, nonreductionists argue that the multiple realizability of moral properties defeats reductionism. Multiple realizabil…Read more
  •  235
    Scalar consequentialism the right way
    Philosophical Studies 175 (12): 3131-3144. 2018.
    The rightness and wrongness of actions fits on a continuous scale. This fits the way we evaluate actions chosen among a diverse range of options, even though English speakers don’t use the words “righter” and “wronger”. I outline and defend a version of scalar consequentialism, according to which rightness is a matter of degree, determined by how good the consequences are. Linguistic resources are available to let us truly describe actions simply as right. Some deontological theories face proble…Read more
  •  2068
    The Humean Theory of Motivation Reformulated and Defended
    Philosophical Review 118 (4): 465-500. 2009.
    This essay defends a strong version of the Humean theory of motivation on which desire is necessary both for motivation and for reasoning that changes our desires. Those who hold that moral judgments are beliefs with intrinsic motivational force need to oppose this view, and many of them have proposed counterexamples to it. Using a novel account of desire, this essay handles the proposed counterexamples in a way that shows the superiority of the Humean theory. The essay addresses the classic obj…Read more
  •  3
    Humean Nature
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    This book defends the Humean Theory of Motivation, according to which desire drives all action and practical reasoning. Desire motivates us to pursue its object. It makes thoughts of its object pleasant. It focuses attention on its object. Its effects are amplified by vivid representations of its object. These aspects of desire explain why motivation usually accompanies moral belief, how intentions shape our plans, how we exercise willpower, what human selves are, how action can express emotion…Read more
  •  1301
    The Backward Clock, Truth-Tracking, and Safety
    Journal of Philosophy 112 (1): 46-55. 2015.
    We present Backward Clock, an original counterexample to Robert Nozick’s truth-tracking analysis of propositional knowledge, which works differently from other putative counterexamples and avoids objections to which they are vulnerable. We then argue that four ways of analysing knowledge in terms of safety, including Duncan Pritchard’s, cannot withstand Backward Clock either.
  •  225
    Nietzschean Pragmatism
    Journal of Nietzsche Studies 48 (1): 56-70. 2017.
    Nietzsche holds that one should believe what best promotes life, and he also accepts the correspondence theory of truth. I’ll call this conjunction of views Nietzschean pragmatism. This article provides textual evidence for attributing this pragmatist position to Nietzsche and explains how his broader metaethical views led him to it.The following section introduces Nietzschean pragmatism, discussing how Nietzsche expresses it in BGE, and distinguishing it from William James’s pragmatism about tr…Read more
  •  40
  •  600
    Virtue, Desire, and Silencing Reasons
    In Iskra Fileva (ed.), Questions of Character, Oxford University Press. pp. 158-168. 2016.
    John McDowell claims that virtuous people recognize moral reasons using a perceptual capacity that doesn't include desire. I show that the phenomena he cites are better explained if desire makes us see considerations favoring its satisfaction as reasons. The salience of moral considerations to the virtuous, like the salience of food to the hungry, exemplifies the emotional and attentional effects of desire. I offer a desire-based account of how we can follow uncodifiable rules of common-sense mo…Read more
  •  2136
    In Defense of Partisanship
    In David Killoren, Emily Crookston & Jonathan Trerise (eds.), Ethics in Politics: New Papers on the Rights and Obligations of Political Agents, Routledge. forthcoming.
    This essay explains why partisanship is justified in contemporary America and environments with similar voting systems and coalition structures. It explains how political parties operate, how helping a party succeed can be a goal of genuine ethical significance, and how trusting one party while mistrusting another can be a reliable route to true belief about important political issues.
  •  1700
    Unequal Vividness and Double Effect
    Utilitas 25 (3): 291-315. 2013.
    I argue that the Doctrine of Double Effect is accepted because of unreliable processes of belief-formation, making it unacceptably likely to be mistaken. We accept the doctrine because we more vividly imagine intended consequences of our actions than merely foreseen ones, making our aversions to the intended harms more violent, and making us judge that producing the intended harms is morally worse. This explanation fits psychological evidence from Schnall and others, and recent neuroscientific r…Read more
  •  3552
    I argue that one intends that ϕ if one has a desire that ϕ and an appropriately related means-end belief. Opponents, including Setiya and Bratman, charge that this view can't explain three things. First, intentional action is accompanied by knowledge of what we are doing. Second, we can choose our reasons for action. Third, forming an intention settles a deliberative question about what to do, disposing us to cease deliberating about it. I show how the desire- belief view can explain why these p…Read more
  •  1233
    Advantages of Propositionalism
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (1): 165-180. 2015.
    Propositionalism is the view that the contents of intentional attitudes have a propositional structure. Objectualism opposes propositionalism in allowing the contents of these attitudes to be ordinary objects or properties. Philosophers including Talbot Brewer, Paul Thagard, Michelle Montague, and Alex Grzankowski attack propositionalism about such attitudes as desire, liking, and fearing. This article defends propositionalism, mainly on grounds that it better supports psychological explanations
  •  54
    Review of Robert Pippin, Nietzsche, Psychology, and First Philosophy (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (9). 2010.
  •  961
    Zarathustra’s metaethics
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (3): 278-299. 2015.
    Nietzsche takes moral judgments to be false beliefs, and encourages us to pursue subjective nonmoral value arising from our passions. His view that strong and unified passions make one virtuous is mathematically derivable from this subjectivism and a conceptual analysis of virtue, explaining his evaluations of character and the nature of the Overman.
  •  72416
    Possible girls
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2). 2008.
    I argue that if David Lewis’ modal realism is true, modal realists from different possible worlds can fall in love with each other. I offer a method for uniquely picking out possible people who are in love with us and not with our counterparts. Impossible lovers and trans-world love letters are considered. Anticipating objections, I argue that we can stand in the right kinds of relations to merely possible people to be in love with them and that ending a trans-world relationship to start a relat…Read more
  •  1264
    Vengeful thinking and moral epistemology
    In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality, Oxford University Press. pp. 262. 2007.
  •  2261
    Distinguishing Belief and Imagination
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (2): 152-165. 2013.
    Some philosophers (including Urmson, Humberstone, Shah, and Velleman) hold that believing that p distinctively involves applying a norm according to which the truth of p is a criterion for the success or correctness of the attitude. On this view, imagining and assuming differ from believing in that no such norm is applied. I argue against this view with counterexamples showing that applying the norm of truth is neither necessary nor sufficient for distinguishing believing from imagining and assu…Read more
  •  4839
    I defend hedonism about moral value by first presenting an argument for moral skepticism, and then showing that phenomenal introspection gives us a unique way to defeat the skeptical argument and establish pleasure's goodness.
  •  2414
    Divine Fine-Tuning vs. Electrons in Love
    American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (1). 2017.
    I present a novel objection to fine-tuning arguments for God's existence: the metaphysical possibility of different psychophysical laws allows any values of the physical constants to support intelligent life forms, like protons and electrons that are in love.
  • Introduction
    with Brian Leiter
    In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality, Oxford University Press. 2007.
  •  29
    Review of Gemes and Richardson (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014. 2014.
  •  119
    The Humean Theory of Practical Irrationality
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 6 (1): 1-13. 2011.
    Christine Korsgaard has argued that Humean views about action and practical rationality jointly imply the impossibility of irrational action. According to the Humean theory of action, agents do what maximizes expected desire-satisfaction. According to the Humean theory of rationality, it is rational for agents to do what maximizes expected desire-satisfaction. Thus Humeans are committed to the impossibility of practical irrationality – an unacceptable consequence. I respond by developing Humean …Read more
  •  436
    This chapter considers the nature of imagination and belief, exploring how deeply these two states of mind differ. It first addresses a range of cognitive and motivational differences between imagination and belief which suggest that they're fundamentally different states of mind. Then it addresses imaginative immersion, delusions, and the different norms we apply to the two mental states, which some theorists regard as providing support for a more unified picture of imagination and belief.